Gills FC announcer, Hot Rats folk musician and stand-up comedian Doug Hudson and his memoir

When someone’s memories start with rising up to laugh at Maze Prison in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, you know you’re ready for a roller coaster ride.

Longtime Gills announcer Doug Hudson will be back in action with the team tomorrow at Priestfield – the stand-up folk and comedic singer, did what many of us wanted to do during the lockdown.

Doug in action

With time on his hands, the great storyteller and avowed troubadour, took up the quill and wrote a book about his musical (and other) escapades, starting with his “Will I get out of here alive?” anecdote about doing stand-up in the labyrinth (he did).

Have you stopped being funny? is a memoir filled with music, memories, and incidents from his early school days at Medway to more recent events, and also includes many anecdotes from Gills.

Doug, who now lives in Broadstairs, said: “I had been considering doing this for a number of years, but with 200 gigs a year, I never had the time. So when the pandemic hit, it meant there was plenty of time to work i started in march last year and i worked through all my doodles, notes and journals i kept and tried to put something together which was not only chronological but which had a common thread.

“It was, I have to say, a lot of fun going through these different stories and getting in touch with people I haven’t seen in ages. Moderate knowledge of folk music, football, travel and music. the comedy.”

Doug at Rainham station to take the Trans-Siberian
Doug at Rainham station to take the Trans-Siberian

His folk music days began in the early 1970s in Medway, forming the folk group Tundra with his former buddies at Gillingham Grammar School and his first wife Sue, and whose first recording is, Doug says, an object of collection today since only 250 have been produced.

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Stories of his early days include another local boy, David Frost, who opened the high school party in 1963 after being invited by the worshiper of the old school principal John Hicks, and the first concerts at the Medway Folk Club – although he missed one.

“A hopeful singer / songwriter who ran for a spot at the club was told the vocal list was full,” writes Doug.

“He was on tour with 22-year-old American Paul Simon. Apparently he took it well and didn’t complain too much. It didn’t seem to affect his future career.”

A growing love for the Gills and an early position as a steward, Doug can now display, like most fans, an encyclopedic knowledge of the team’s form over the years, including when they scored eight. goals one weekend and 10 the next. *.

And the first game in the spotlight – against Bury on Wednesday, September 25 – which he watched from his backyard at the back of Canadian Avenue. “It was electric … it’s still in my head today.”

Doug announces at Gillingham FC
Doug announces at Gillingham FC

Being a fan has been hectic over the years. While doing stand-up in the UAE, he was introduced to ‘Noddy’ who claimed to have scored a hat trick in their first match in the limelight.

Doug wrote, “’Did he really do it? I enthused, knowing that was completely wrong… I wasn’t going to spoil her dining out story even though I could see the fear of being discovered in her eyes. He must have thought that his story would never have been questioned in the sands of the United Arab Emirates. “

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His job as Gills announcer came in the mid-1980s after a fairly short interview with one of the club’s directors, Steve Graham.

Doug writes, “He asked me a question. ‘Where is Lincoln City playing?’ “Sincil Bank,” I replied. “OK, you’ve got the job. “

The behind-the-scenes changes meant a change for Doug the announcer.

When Paul Scally bought the club he told him to make the announcement from the pitch. Doug says he said to him, “‘I see you as Deadly Doug, running along the sideline’ … It was a better move for me and I enjoyed being in front of the crowd. “

The Gills have also appeared in his personal life, including his marriage to his second wife Nicole in 2010 on a Friday when he “forgot” to tell her that their honeymoon trip to the airport would include a ground visit. . “I could have sworn I told him we would stop at Priestfield on our way to Gatwick …”

Doug and guitar in Hong Kong
Doug and guitar in Hong Kong

His musical exploits are also documented, from concerts at the Medway Little Theater to a trip to Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1982, playing cricket along the way.

Doug writes: “According to my schedule for the Thomas Cook International Railway, the train actually stopped at 52 stations for 10 to 20 minutes. white crickets. “

He also says he was asked to play the Spice Girls’ Wannabe while dressed as a minstrel at Leeds Castle – an occasion he must have disappointed his audience.

Singing on an Indian train with a Baul busker
Singing on an Indian train with a Baul busker

A £ 99 round-the-world trip a few years later also left him with a tough decision. “‘Do you want to go around the world for £ 99? He told me. I checked my journal and saw that I should miss a Wild West Hoedown at the Pentagon in Chatham, the Three Mariners pub in Rainham and a ceilidh PTA in Eastbourne. What would you do ? “

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His concerts with the Hot Rats, his folk group which continues today, are also well documented, including their biggest concert – the Dranouter festival in Belgium, with an audience of 80,000 and acts such as Sinead O’Connor. , The Levellers and Suzanne Vega.

The performance with bandmate Peter Learmouth, however, took place at 3 a.m. in the beer tent, in front of 5,000 late-night revelers – after a party where they had to (mostly) avoid the free desks bar. artists.

Doug Hudson's book Have you stopped being funny?
Doug Hudson’s book Have you stopped being funny?

A longtime performer at Broadstairs Folk Week, which opens tomorrow, he will be doing a book reading and signing at the Harbor Street Sailing Club on Monday, August 9 at 11 a.m.

And he will make an announcement when the Gills’ season opens this weekend.

Bitten by the writing bug, Doug is also now working on a second installment – on his cricket exploits on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

And no, he hasn’t stopped being funny.

The book costs £ 10.99 on Amazon. Find out more here.

* Gillingham v Southend 8-1 and Gillingham v Chesterfield 10-0 (1986/7 season).

For more information on entertainment across Kent click here.

For more information on Gills, click here.

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